Life Without Gift Wrap - holiday edition

Okay I'm not even sure where to begin on how to tackle waste for the Holidays.  Because there are SO MANY quick, effective, tips on this topic. So, I'm thinking I will do a two-part blog to share a couple of no brainers with you!

Right about now we are probably writing down Christmas Lists, checking off some holiday shopping, doing a little decorating, hitting up some Black Friday deals, and maybe gift wrapping?  Maybe?  

Wasteful wrapping

Wrapping paper definitely comes to mind when you start thinking about the waste during the Holidays - - or the unnecessary consumerism involved, but we are going to keep it a little lighter than that! 

The impact

Zero Waste Canada did a wrapping paper study a couple of years ago and estimates that around 540,000 tonnes of wrapping paper heads to our Canadian landfills every holiday season.  To give that whopping number a little context, that's about 90,000 elephants! NINETY THOUSAND?! That is crazy. 

The original article link is at the bottom of this post if you want to give it a read.

Clearly reducing the wrapping paper is a super-easy way to reduce our overall impact.  So a couple of sustainable wrapping options are coming your way!

Option 1 - Naked Presents

Obviously, the easiest way to reduce the wrapping paper is to not wrap presents in the first place.  Naked presents might not be a great option for kids, but for adults, it might actually be a win.  Naked presents: 

  • Makes gift-giving easier, by skipping a step
  • Makes gift-receiving easier, because unwrapping a present with the gifter watching your every move and expression is always so freaking awkward

Twine, string, or maybe a sprig off of a spruce tree can give your present a luxurious look, without creating so much waste.

While Naked Presents sound scandalous, I'm thinking this is a win for the environment, a win for the gifter, and a win for the recipient. If you give this a try this holiday season definitely tag Without Co. because I want to see all of your nakey presents!

Option 2 - Post-consumer Paper products

Fully recyclable and post-consumer paper products are a good compromise if you want to pretty up your prezzies. Post-consumer product means that no additional trees are being harmed to wrap your present, so the higher percentage of this in the paper, the better. Plus there are definitely some cute patterns on the market that are printed on kraft paper which is fully recyclable. 

Stay away from the foily, coated products, because that can't be recycled and is likely tacky anyways... sorry.

Option 3 - Fabric gift wrap

This one is totally my favourite option.  Fabric gift wrap makes your present stand out while including a little extra present to whoever receives the gift.  Fabric gift wrap can be used, reused, regifted, and passed down for years to come.  It could kind of be like the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, but for gift wrap in your family; how fun!  Here are a couple of examples of fabric wrapped presents: 

sustainable fabric gift wrap.  Low waste living products at Without Co.


You can cut up an old sheet, hit the thrift store, head to the fabric shop, or come in to Without Co to pick some up *hint hint*. 







If you're in the Calgary area, definitely join in on our workshop and I can walk you through how to tie up different presents! The workshop will include a 2 fabric wraps, plus a tutorial on how to wrap your gifts, and how to make your own wraps at home. 

here's the eventbrite link if you would like to join in on the gift wrap workshop:

Fabric Gift Bags

Another take on fabric gift wrap is to use produce bags.  Fabric produce bags are everywhere these days, and for good reason!



Bulk goods and produce are an obvious use but the fabric produce bags also make a great gift bag. Something they can use forever!  (click the pic to the left to pick up some for yourself!)



Naked presents, fabric wrapped, fabric bagged; this are all super easy, really cute options. Undoubtedly, someone will point out reusing old gift bags - yes of course!  Great point.  Using what you have is always step one in zero waste living!

I hope these sustainable wrapping ideas get you thinking about how you can reduce your waste this holiday season. 

As always, I love hearing what you guys think of these blogs.  Nice to know if anyone is out there! Don't forget - tag without co on your sustainable gift wrapping posts, I want to see ALL OF THEM!

That's all for now!

- Michelle


1) to the original info on gift wrap waste.  Plus it comes in a handy dandy waste reduction pdf:

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  • mums buzzar on

    Think about it: you avoid the inevitable last-minute wrapping frenzy. No more digging through a cluttered closet for scissors and tape, or wrestling with mountains of wrapping paper that never seem to cooperate. With each fold of paper and twist of ribbon, we’re able to convey our affection, our appreciation, our excitement at being able to share this moment with them. It’s a chance to engage all the senses, from the visual appeal of the wrapping to the tactile sensation of unwrapping, each moment building anticipation for the reveal. And when the recipient finally opens the package, their smile a testament to the joy it brings, we’re reminded of the power of a thoughtful gesture to brighten someone’s day.

  • mumsbuzzar on

    Having the opportunity to share your unique point of view with us is something I greatly admire. I am impressed with how you presented your ideas to us, and I am grateful that you shared your thoughts with us. This is a great blog, and now that you have shared your thoughts with us, I have a better understanding of how to properly utilize it.

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